YOUR article “Thumbs up for diaspora housing scheme”, (Zimbabwe Independent, December 17), by Taurai Mushambi contains such gross inaccuracies that despite the disclaimer at the end,
I think it would be unfair for your readers to accept it as resembling anything close to the truth.
I am not sure if the Homelink Housing Development Scheme is as popular as the article suggests. The article asserts that a monthly repayment of £1 175 represents only a quarter of what most people in the UK earn.
It further alleges that with such repayments, the scheme offers Zimbabweans abroad “a cheap source of financing”.
A figure of £1 000 represents a monthly net salary for an average person in the UK. A quick search on the Internet will show that a teacher or a nurse, for example, earns an annual salary of £18 000, which translates to £1 500 per month before tax and other deductions. Even with a second job most people still will not earn a net salary of £1 600.
I hope I am not engaging in a game of figures by losing the essence of the report.
If the scheme is as popular as the report claims, then I think the rates should be competitive. There is no point in offering an exchange rate of $11 000/GBP when the parallel market rate is way above that.
Much as people would love to contribute to the development of the country through such innovative schemes as the HHDS, I do not think people will be lured into schemes that would leave them worse off. It does not need a mathematical genius to work out that it would be better to save the required money in cash over five years, and buy the house in cash instead.
I always depend on you (Independent) to give accurate and reliable information and respect you for giving the government credit when it deserves it. In this instance, however, I think you got it wrong and I think you owe an apology to your readers.
I hate to entertain the idea that your reporters too have become willing tools to be used by the oppressive and unpopular regime to distort the truth and twist facts in a vain attempt to gain some credibility in the minds of right-thinking Zimbabweans.
I believe you are smarter than your colleagues at the state-controlled newspapers.